Zero Waste shopping is booming in Singapore – now getting more and more easy to buy your groceries without bringing back disposable plastics and loading it straight to the bin! Two big Australian brands, Scoop Wholefoods and The Source Bulk Foods are now entering the Singapore shopping scene, making conscious food shopping mainstream. But why are bulk stores not just a trendy phenomenon, but important initiatives – and where can you find your local outlet here in Singapore?
What is a Bulk Store?
A Bulk store is basically a Grocery Store without plastic. All your nuts, grains, seeds, flour, sugars, spices, dried fruit and much more are kept in big containers for you to scoop up in any amount you need. You need to bring your own containers or glassware (buying them is a possibility), have this weighed first and you can start your bulk shopping! All your shopping is paid by weight, subtracting the weight of your container. Most Bulk Stores will also stock soaps and shampoos in bulk, as well as cleaning liquids and even oils. And if want to go all in the zero waste lifestyle, Reusable products like metal straws, beeswax wraps and coffee cups are often also sold at these stores.
Why do we need Bulk Stores?
Plastic waste is a global problem, 8 million metric tons of plastic goes into the ocean every year, and most of them take over 400 years to degrade. In Singapore, only 6% of our plastics get recycled and we’ve increased our plastic consumption with 20% in the past 15 years. Thankfully, pioneers in the Zero Waste movement have taught us how we can live a more zero waste lifestyle by advocating how to refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and even rot , and people are becoming more aware of the fact that recycling is not enough if we want to save our planet.
Where can I find Bulk Stores in Singapore?
Bulk is not a new phenomenon – in Singapore, our wet markets have been a bulk source for many years and if you go way back in time when plastics didn’t exist, buying groceries in bulk was how the normal thing to do. Essentially we are going back to how we use to shop, and thankfully, this is now becoming a trend, sparking big corporations to enter the grocery space with bulk. The question is, where do you get it here in Singapore?
(Ang Mo Kio + Shenton Way).
Unpackt was the first real bulk in Singapore, opening up May 2018. Since then, the Singapore-run brand has expanded and holds 2 stores in the city. See our interview and our tour of Unpackt the day before the opening of their first store here
With their first opening in 2019, Scoop Wholefoods took up a grand space in Tanglin Mall, presenting the biggest variety of bulk products in Singapore. The brand is Australian and added another two stores to the chain in 2020 in Great World City and Paya Lebar.
The Source Bulk Foods
With 50 stores in Australia, The Source Bulk Foods is a veteran in the Bulk space and opened their first shop in Bukit Timah based Cluny Court in 2019. You can now also find them in Great World City and soon in Raffles Place. The Source Bulk Foods also do delivery.
Still the only Bulk Store out west with all your pantry goodies, pastas, spices, dried goods and snacks. Reprovisions also do delivery.
(Bukit Timah Shopping Centre)
Eco.Le is Singapore homegrown and other than their great boutique on the 2nd floor in Bukit Timah, you’ll find them on most of the green fairs around Singapore.
The Zero Ways
(pop-up + various stores)
The Zero Ways is also a Singapore initiative, advocating bulk waste and supporting social causes and fair trade. They are stocked in Eclecticism in Wheelock Place, Art of Yoga in East Coast and Kapok in the National Design Centre.
You can buy in bulk in other locations, who don’t necessarily specialise in just this.
- The Social Space, Kreta Ayer and Marina One (Bulk shampoo, soap and cleaning products) – Read the story and see our tour of the first Social Space here.
- Teck Sang, Hong Kong St. (Chinese condiments)